Directors of Ceremonies;
Bishop Munib Younan, President of the Lutheran World Federation;
Reverend Dr Martin Junge, General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation;
Leaders of the United Church Council – Namibian Evangelical Lutheran Churches;
Representatives of the Council of Churches in Namibia;
Distinguished delegates to the Assembly;
Dignitaries from churches worldwide;
Members of the Media;
Ladies and gentlemen
I am Lutheran. Therefore, I am honored today to welcome my fellow Lutherans to Namibia on this very special occasion of the five hundredth Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.
I am also honored that I have been given the privilege of being with you on the 12th Lutheran World Federation Assembly in Namibia.
The Lutheran church has a long and illustrious history in Namibia. It is therefore appropriate for me to reflect on the fact that Martin Luther who was an Augustinian friar, led his rebellion against corruption and injustices that had become common in the church in Rome.
As all of us know, Martin Luther was a great thinker and prolific writer, and I am so glad that Gutenberg's invention of the printing press helped disseminate his thoughts. His rebellion against Rome was also an inspiration to us during our country's liberation struggle against the injustices of apartheid and occupation.
We are grateful to the Lutheran church not only for its moral support but also material support during our struggle against oppression. So, you can see why we have a special affinity with the Lutheran World Federation. We have some seven hundred and seventy-five thousand (775000) Lutherans in Namibia.
Under the leadership of Bishop Shekutaamba V.V. Nambala, Bishop Kameeta, Bishop Auala, just to mention a few, the Lutheran church has continued to guide Namibians to stand for justice, integrity and honesty anchored in faith.
We value the church's contribution as we, in the government, too, are accelerating our efforts to promote effective governance and service delivery under the Harambee Prosperity Plan. Anticorruption initiative is an integral part of this effort.
We are taking a leaf out of Martin Luther's writings, as we also seek to build a new society in reconciliation. I recall Luther's inquiry into the nature of atonement (or reconciliation) that presupposes a broken relationship. Atonement brings about the restoration of the relationship. Our policy of reconciliation draws on this experience.
Dear Lutheran World Federation (LWF) family, we welcome you with open and loving arms to Namibia, because you were an important partner to our people on our journey to independence.
So, ladies and gentlemen, we are happy to have your fellowship, and I am so glad that you are meeting here joined in faith.
I welcome you. Namibia welcomes you.